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Cyprus

Leaders expected to announce date for talks (Updated)

The leaders of the two communities are expected to announce a date for the resumption of talks after they meet for dinner on Monday night.

President Nicos Anastasiades and Turkish Cypriot leader Mustafa Akinci are joining UN SG`s Special Adviser Espen Barth Eide for dinner at the Ledra Palace hotel in the UN-controlled buffer zone.
The dinner, which is being hosted by the UN, is scheduled to start at 8pm.

Greek Cypriot negotiator Andreas Mavroyiannis and Turkish Cypriot negotiator Ozdil Nami will join the leaders and Eide for dinner, after the three men conclude their private meeting.
Also present at the dinner, apart from Eide on the part of the UN, will be expected to be the UN Secretary General`s Special Representative in Cyprus Lisa Buttenheim.

Government spokesman Nicos Christodoulides told CyBC radio on Monday that apart from the social nature of the dinner, discussions would focus not only on a possible date for the resumption of talks but also on possibly seeing a more enhanced role of the leaders in the process.

During the previous round the leaders met only as necessary and the bulk of the work was carried out by the two negotiators. Frequency of meetings would also be discussed, the spokesman said.

“There is expected to  be a substantial discussion concerning the future of the common objectives for the reunification of our country and it has not been ruled pit that Mr Akinci will inform the President on some of his thoughts with regard to Confidence Building Measures (CBMs),” Christodoulides added.

As far as the date for the talks to resume was concerned, Christodoulides said it should be taken for granted that the negotiations would begin this month and “feelers” had been put on regarding the exact date.

“What I can tell you is that it will be very soon,” he added.

Christodoulides said the talks would begin from where they left off last year. Monday night’s dinner will be the first time the two leaders will meet after Akinci was elected last month.

Eide has held separate meetings with both leaders and other interlocutors to finalise arrangements for the resumption of full-fledged negotiations.

According to the Cyprus News Agency,
Anastasiades is likely to convene a meeting of the National Council, the top advisory body to the President on the Cyprus issue, next week.

Ahead of the dinner, Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides, in an interview with Turkish Millyet newspaper, said Akinci`s election was encouraging.

He said Anastasiades and Akinci had a great opportunity to find a solution.
Kasoulides said Cyprus and Turkey could have friendly relations if the latter withdrew its army from the island. “The Cyprus issue will be solved with the Turkish Cypriots. For me, it is very important for Cyprus to have friendly relations with Turkey. If the Cyprus problem is resolved, they will have friendly relations,” he added.
Regarding Confidence Building Measures, Kasoulides said it was possible to open the fenced off city of Varosha as well as Ercan (Tymbou) airport and Famagusta port. He said that Varosha needed to be handed over to the UN.

Regarding Ercan, Kasoulides said there were solutions that the International Civil Aviation Organisation could offer. “I have a problem traveling to Brussels. Why can I not I travel via Ercan once flights out of this airport become legal?” the minister said. (CNA)

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